Ethics Bites

Scheduled Mondays from noon-1:00pm either virtually or at the Fulginiti

​A series discussing hot topics and cases in the field of ethics.  Discussions have included marijuana treatment for childhood seizure disorders and Colorado’s Right to Try law and patients who are seeking experimental treatments.  Interaction, discussion, debate and personal reflection are encouraged at these events which are free and open to the public.  Topic suggestions are welcome; please e-mail Dr. Tess Jones with your ideas for future Ethics Bites.

Check back often for our next discussion.


"Speaking of Pain: Why we need better education and research about opioids for those who suffer from chronic pain," was presented by Kate Nicholson, JD on February 10th, 2020.

Cari Levy, MD, PhD and Jean Abbott, MD, MH, presented #Futureself: A Conversation on Planning for Dementia​,​ on January 14, 2019.  This discussion was based, in part, on their upcoming publication in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Should We Honor Tattooed DNR's was a panel discussion discussion moderated by Jackie Glover, PhD, on April 16, 2018 with panelists: David Nowels, MD, MPH, MSPH, UCH Palliative Care and Medical Director, Hospice of Metro Denver Patrick O’Rourke, JD, Vice President, University Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Regents.

"Lessons from the Holocaust,"​ was presented by Franziska Eckert, MD on October 23, 2017.  ​​Dr. Eckert is a radiation oncologist at the University of Tuebingen in Germany, and has researched medical atrocities during the Holocaust.  She shared her personal and academic perspectives on Nazi medicine.

"Professional self-regulation in medicine: Earning the public's trust​,"​ was presented by Audiey Kao, MD, PhD, Vice President, Ethics at the American Medical Association, on May 10th, 2017.

"CRISPR: (Genome Editing) Past, Present and Future,"​ was presented by Robert T. Batey, PhD, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at CU Boulder and Marilyn Coors, PhD, Director of Research at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities on May 9th, 2016.

Ethical Issues at the Beginning of Life: A Case of Withholding / Withdrawing Life-sustaining Treatment​ was led by Heather Fitzgerald, RN, MS, on October 19, 2015.  This case discussion explored how decisions are and ought to be made in the thorny navigation of evaluating benefits and burdens of treatment with seriously ill newborns. Fitzgerald is Clinical Nurse Ethicist, Co-chair, Children’s Hospital Colorado Ethics Committee and faculty at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities.

Do We Need More Organ Transplants? was presented by Govind Persad, JD, PhD on October 12, 2015.  Transplant advocates and critics both agree that expanding organ procurement would save lives. In contrast, Persad argues that organ transplantation is less cost-effective than many other interventions, and expanding procurement might actually cost lives by diverting limited resources.

"A Question of Mercy and Morality? A Debate on Assisted Dying,"​ was held on April 27th, 2015, featuring perspectives of Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, psychiatrist and past-president of the American Medical Association, Harlan Davis Hibbard, MD, former Senior Medical Director of Gentiva Hospice and Jennifer Ballentine, MA, Vice-President of Hospice Analytics.  Click for audience response data.​

A conversation about "Parental Vaccine Hesitancy: Ethical Considerations and Conundrums,​" was held on March 23rd, 2015, led by Matthew F. Daley, MD and Jason M. Glanz, PhD.  They discussed respect for parental decision-making, the "social contract," and the negotiations that occur between parents and providers.

"To transplant or not to transplant? Getting a liver after attempting suicide," presented by Jean Abbott, MD, MH on January 26, 2015​.  Your patient attempts suicide with acetaminophen.  She only will survive with a liver transplant.  Hear the discussion of the ethics of transplantation after self-injury.

"Ebola and Ethics," was presented by Charles M. Little, DO, FACEP​, Director of Emergency Preparedness at University of Colorado Hospital on November 24th, 2014.  This review of facts and preparation activities was followed by a discussion of case study on the ethics of medical care and community aspects of this disease. 

Ethics Bites: Colorado's new Right to Try law​ was presented on July 28, 2014.  This discussion featured two cases about terminally ill patients seeking experimental drugs; one about a four-year old with Niemann-Pick disease and another case about a woman with stage IV pancreatic cancer,  facilitated by Christopher Lieu, MD-UCH Medical Oncology and Alison Sorkin, UCH Assistant General Counsel.

Ethics Bites: Marijuana Therapy for Epilepsy​ on June 23, 2014.  This discussion focused on a case about a 14 year-old patient with seizures that are not well-controlled by medication.  His parents want to try "Charlotte's Web," marijuana and are seeking a medical marijuana license for their son. 

5280 Magazine featured an article by Kasey Cordell on this topic.  TIME Magazine also featured excerpts from this event in their special edition, "Marijuana Goes Main Street." Facilitators were Kari Franson, PharmD, PhD, BCPP, from University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Heather Fitzgerald, RN, MS, Clinical Nurse Ethicist at Children's Hospital Colorado.